|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Friday, 30 September 2011 00:00|
The deadline is approaching to get applications in for the spring draw for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear hunts. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be accepting the applications through 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Hunters can take their applications by hand to any of the game and fish departments offices in Flagstaff, Pinetop, Mesa, Yuma, Phoenix and Tucson if they happen to be heading in one of those directions before the deadline.
The department is also planning on eventually using an online application system. While no date is set, officials with the department hope to have it up and running some time during the spring hunt cycle.
The application and other information about the 2012 spring hunts are available online now at azgfd.gov/draw. Other applications are available from hunting license dealers. A 2012 hunting license is also required to participate in the draw.
The spring hunts will be subject to new state laws which open up certain areas inside town limits around the state that were previously off-limits. There are restrictions, however, so it’s best to check the rules or ask law enforcement or the game and fish department with any questions.
The applications can be mailed to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Drawing Section, P.O. Box 74020, Phoenix, AZ 85087-1052. They must be received by the deadline. According to the guidelines posted by the department, postmarks do not count for consideration.
In addition to getting hunters set up legally, the department is also asking hunters to help keep an eye out for people breaking the rules and for animals that may be potentially diseased.
Be on the look out but be careful is the department’s message.
“The desire of the public to help us catch violators is great. However, there are instances when those desires can actually hinder law enforcement efforts,” said Ken Dinquel, manager of the department’s Operation Game Thief program.
The concern is that even if poaching or other violations are witnessed, it can be a bad idea to confront someone in the wilderness. Even if the violator has no plan to harm the witness, the department warns that confronting them could in some cases lead to a violator leaving an area before law enforcement can arrive.
“Approaching a violator is not the best course of action,” Dinquel said. “Allow trained law enforcement officers to handle such situations. Individuals should focus on being a good witness and never put themselves in harm’s way.”
The department has a 24-hour hotline set up at (800) 352-0700 where hunters can report potential violations.
The department also asks people not to approach and investigate any dead animals, as it could contaminate an area law enforcement may need to examine for evidence and other clues.
When it comes to hunters out looking for deer or elk, the department is also asking for help in reporting any potential cases of chronic wasting disease by either allowing field biologists to take samples or by bringing an animal’s head into a game and fish office during normal business hours. The disease, which leads to weight loss and death in the affected animals, hasn’t been found in the state since 1998. It’s not harmful to humans. Game officials hope to keep that streak alive through continued monitoring, since the disease has cropped up in neighboring states.
“As in past years, the participation of hunters, meat processors and taxidermists is essential for the department’s ... surveillance program,” department biologist Clint Luedtke said.
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